Aaron Kelly has spent much of his life under the radar. He was discovered by Clemson shortly after the start of his senior season. The 6-5 redshirt freshman had a lot of room to grow.
“I didn’t play until my senior year. That was the only time I played. I just didn’t get playing time until my senior. I grew a lot in high school. I was about five foot five, when I started high school. I grew about a foot.”
It is pretty remarkable that Kelly grew a foot during high school. Clemson jumped on Kelly seeing the potential, and Georgia Tech did not pursue the Georgia native.
“I am not sure I would have gone. They really didn’t have the environment I wanted. I have gone to a few Georgia Tech games. It was kind of disappointing when I went to the Georgia-Georgia Tech games, and the Georgia fans were doing their cheers in the Georgia Tech’s stadium. The fans just didn’t get into it like they do here.”
Kelly says there is a little extra motivation as he prepares to return home.
“It is not a home game, but I am going home. I will be playing in front of a lot my friends and family. People have told me that they will be at the game. You always want to play well in front of them.”
With his most recent performance (7 catches 155 yards against Temple), the friends and family could be expecting more.
“They always expect a lot. I am just gonna go out there and try my best, whatever happens happens.”
Kelly says the opportunity to play early at Clemson was a big factor in his decision.
“I saw the opportunity to play early. I am just trying to make the most of my opportunities. I have tried to get better every game, and I think I have done that.”
Kelly did grow, but his weight did not match his height. Kelly is a slender 185 pounds, but plays with no fear.
“I have been playing football since I was a little kid. I think it is a lot of fun. I don’t think there is anything to be afraid of. Getting hit and hitting is a part of football that’s why you play the game. I don’t think there is anything to be afraid of.”
The redshirt freshman had a chance to return a punt for the first time against Temple. With seven defenders around him, the words fair catch never entered his mind.
“No. There is no fair catch. If there was any way to catch the ball I was going to catch it.”